Solution to Keep the US Government from Snooping

Solution to Keep the US Government from Snooping

In light of continuing news reports of the U.S. government snooping on email and related communications insecurities, Dave Anderson, senior director at Voltage Security offers an engaging commentary. He highlights the value of Solution to Keep the US Government from Snoopingencryption, where the intended email recipient, who is validated, is the one to decrypt the email’s data in order to read it. According to Anderson, the ultimate solution is a stateless key management encryption solution that generates crypto keys on demand, and only when encryption and decryption is needed.

“Email is such a ubiquitous form of communication in business today, not just for simple status communications to employees, but also to distribute content and information outside of the organization to customers, partners and suppliers. Most companies are using email to send sensitive information, including financial, HR, health care and other personally identifiable information, often times without realizing the ease of this information being exposed and lost unless the email and attachments are encrypted. 

“Email can be made private and not subject to exposure or snooping, if the proper encryption methods are implemented to protect the email and all attachments end-to-end, all the way through to the intended recipient. Identity-based encryption, which employs a user’s identity as part of the algorithm to generate the encryption keys on-demand, can effectively encrypt and secure email content and corresponding attachments, both structured and unstructured data, and can maintain that level of encryption from the moment it is created until it is decrypted and read by the intended recipient.

“Many of the surveillance programs in the recent news have employed a process not where they are breaking the crypto, but simply sniffing the email and payload content either before it has been encrypted or after it has been decrypted before it’s sent to the recipient. Gateway solutions are common in these scenarios where the sniffing happens at the gateway, once the gateway receives a clear text email but before the gateway encrypts, or alternatively once the recipient’s gateway receives the encrypted email and then decrypts, but before it gets sent to the recipient.  

“Email security has been available since the dot-com era began as PKI programs provided encryption solutions that could be integrated and used within common email systems.  However, these PKI-based solutions were very difficult to properly deploy. They were very manual in nature and therefore, not user friendly, and often the integration with email systems was difficult and not seamless.  Many companies did not deploy email encryption at this time simply because of these issues, although continued to use email to communicate sensitive information, assuming that other security controls, such as user access and authorization, VPN, or DLP solutions, would keep their email secure, which obviously hasn’t been the case.

“PGP, and other PKI-based encryption solutions, force the customer to adopt a manual, difficult process for generating and managing the crypto keys and certificates used to encrypt, decrypt, and validate users. The key management behind these systems is very difficult for the average enterprise to adopt, and is quite costly over the long run, as the management processes for these systems require a great deal of manual activity and oversight. A better alternative is a stateless key management encryption solution, where crypto keys are generated on demand, only when the user needs to encrypt and decrypt.  Stateless key management, combined with an identity-based encryption solution, completely removes the complexity, cost, and management overhead from an email encryption solution, and can be rapidly adopted and integrated into an enterprise.”

About the Author

Dave Anderson is senior director at Voltage Security.


  • Live From ISC West 2023: Day 1

    ISC West 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada, has officially begun! Make sure to keep an eye on Security Today’s ISCW Live 2023 page, as well as our associated Twitter accounts—@SecurToday and @CampusSecur—for the latest updates from the show floor at the Venetian Expo. Read Now

    • Industry Events
    • ISC West
  • It Happened Again

    Just yesterday (as of this writing), it happened again. A 28-year-old woman shot her way into a Christian elementary school in Nashville, Tenn., on Monday and killed three children and three adults, according to national news. AP News reports that the victims were three 9-year-old children, a top school administrator, a substitute teacher, and a school custodian Read Now

  • Let's Get to Work

    You are standing at the conference center doors just waiting to get into the exhibit hall. I know you are because I’m standing next to you. This week at ISC West has been three years in the making. Last year was encouraging, and here we are waiting for the Big Show. Read Now

    • Industry Events
    • ISC West
  • Using Modern Technology

    Using Modern Technology

    Workplace violence is a serious and growing challenge for many organizations — including those in the healthcare industry. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

New Products

  • PACE® Long Range Ethernet Solutions

    PACE® Long Range Ethernet Solutions

    Altronix introduces the newest addition to its portfolio of PACE® Long Range Ethernet Solutions. 3

  • ComNet CNGE6FX2TX4PoE

    The ComNet cost-efficient CNGE6FX2TX4PoE is a six-port switch that offers four Gbps TX ports that support the IEEE802.3at standard and provide up to 30 watts of PoE to PDs. It also has a dedicated FX/TX combination port as well as a single FX SFP to act as an additional port or an uplink port, giving the user additional options in managing network traffic. The CNGE6FX2TX4PoE is designed for use in unconditioned environments and typically used in perimeter surveillance. 3

  • Paxton10 CORE Cameras

    Paxton10 CORE Cameras

    The new CORE Series cameras feature edge processing for ultimate scalability, built-in edge storage, and plug-and-play installation. The addition of the CORE Series gives installers new hardware, better choice, and more value than ever before. 3